Welcome to my stop on the Ariadne blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: 29/04/2021
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Greek Myth Retelling | Historical Fiction
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.GoodReads
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
As soon as I discovered that this novel was being released I immediately added it to my wishlist and started counting down the days. Not only was it incredible to finally hold Ariadne in my hands but the novel itself was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be.
Like many others, I know the basics of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, however I never quite knew what happened after and I don’t often hear Ariadne or her sister, Phaedra, spoken of in these tales. So it was very refreshing to hear their stories and to see how they fit into the famous myths. I also loved how distinctive their personalities were, although they are sisters and witnessed Posideon’s cruelty to their mother, among other events, they viewed them so differently which impacted some of their decisions later on. Ariadne was gentle, considerate and strong, although Phaedra was also strong she was fiercely independent and more impulsive. They were also a great contrast to Theseus and Dionysus, both of which were very different to the Theseus and Dionysus that we’re used to.
Saint does an excellent job with the pacing of the novel; we get a brief history of Ariadne’s and Phaedra’s parents. Not only does this help us understand their position and relationship to the Gods, but it also gives the reader a firsthand look at how fickle the Gods can be with mortals too. As this is Ariadne’s story, I really liked the way Saint handled the story of Theseus and the Minotaur with it only serving as a stepping stone for Ariadne’s story, highlighting her and her sister’s involvement instead. Whilst the opening chapters are primarily from Ariadne’s perspective, I really enjoyed how, later on, we started to occasionally alternate with Phaedra’s perspective too. This dual narrative was incredibly insightful and added so many more layers to what is already a fascinating and complex myth.
The entire novel is written in such a lyrical and captivating way; I really feel that Saint captured the magic of the myth. The way that a sense of foreboding would be subtly weaved through scenes keep the reader grounded in the fact that this is still the story from mythology, and how nothing is as it appears at first, even just by ending a seemingly happy chapter with a single sentence that will overwhelm you with unease. It was this atmosphere and pacing that had me gripped and devouring the book in just two sittings.
Overall, this novel offers a fresh perspective on a myth we think we know and had me questioning many aspects of this myth as well as others, particularly whether the heroes truly are the heroes they are painted to me. This beautiful book is a must read for mythology fans, and I am so thrilled that I have been able to learn Ariadne’s story.
About the Author
Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. ARIADNE is her first novel and she is working on another retelling of ancient myth for her second.